Job better than aid, say UP dalits
Shailvee Sharda, TNN | Jan 25, 2012, 06.06AM IST
Uttar Pradesh's dalits aren't living hugely improved lives despite
five years of rule by Mayawati, a CM from the community. But she
remains their icon and BSP the party they identify with.
GONDA: Uttar Pradesh's dalits aren't living hugely improved lives
despite five years of rule by Mayawati, a CM from the community . But
she remains their icon and BSP the party they identify with-because it
draws legitimacy , inspiration and ideology from Babasaheb Ambedkar.
BSP rule has not made much difference even to Ambedkar villages which
were conceived in 1991 to bring their residents, particularly dalits,
into the mainstream . When implemented in 1995, the scheme became a
source of heartburn exposing Mayawati to the charge that she was
excessively focused on dalits.
Take the case of newly-married Raman of Kochwa, an Ambedkar village.
He is forced to leave his wife and family for 10 months every year to
go to Haryana to work as farm labour.
"Yahan kahan naukri hai?" (Where are the jobs here?) Raman laments.
When he stays away from his family, his old mobile is his only link
with his family. Raman's story is an often-told one of the state of
UP's dalits, denied basic amenities let alone livelihood options .
These conditions haven't changed much in these five years.
Dalits seem to be skeptical of the doles and subsidies that Mayawati
takes pride in designing for them, saying they are no substitute for
employment. To them, empowerment is derived from regular employment.
Gulaba Devi, a Pasi widow in Hardoi's Rampur Atwa village sums it up
best: "A job is better than any pension or financial aid."
But that does not seem to have affected their loyalty to BSP. Malti
Devi of Sitapur, an NREGA labourer, puts it succinctly: "I would vote
for the elephant because only God can change our fate. What can
politicians do?" Such resignation is not unique to her and gives a
clue to why BSP continues to retain a solid core of supporters:
Something that enables her to transfer votes to whoever she wishes to
and build larger social alliances like five years ago.
The skepticism extends to the memorials dedicated to dalit icons. The
statues in Lucknow and Noida which had to be recently draped following
an EC order are the buzz even in remote villages. But no dalit TOI
spoke to found Mayawati's statues empowering. Instead, they rued the
state's inefficiency and lamented the CM's statues . "Poor do not
benefit from idols," Gulaba Devi said. Raman, a frequent visitor to
Lucknow, says the memorials are beautiful (" sundar hai" ), yet "it
would have been better had the money been used to generate jobs" .
Despite their poor living conditions their attachment for BSP remains.
Prof AK Singh, director, Giri institute for Developmental Studies ,
says, "No major initiatives were taken for employment generation among
dalits. Welfare schemes meant for dalits had limited reach. So, their
lives did not change much." That doesn't stop Ram Khilawan of Bahrimau
in Sitapur from celebrating BSP as the bearer of Ambedkar's legacy.
21.1% UP's population are dalits
87.7% dalits live in villages
41.9% dalits in Sonbhadra, highest concentration
11% in Baghpat, lowest concentration
Jatavs (CM's caste) are 56% mainly in Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Gorakhpur in
east UP. In Agra, Bijnor, Saharanpur in west UP
Pasis (16%) have highest numbers in Sitapur, Rae Bareli, Hardoi in
east UP & Allahabad
Dhobi, Kori, Balmiki (15%) mainy in Sultanpur in east UP, Bareilly,
Ghaziabad in west UP
Most SCs are farm labour with 42.5% share in four economic categories
31% have small landholdings, are marginal farmers
Rest in household industry 4.3%. Some labourers at construction sites
Self employed | Cobblers, hyde flayers, bone collectors, sweepers, run piggeries
More than half of dalit poor have no BPL cards | mostly tribal, the
most backward and Muslim dalits
Maya Refutes NCRB
CM claimed that since 2007, when her govt came to power, cases of
harassment of SC/ST had steadily declined. Murder Cases declined by
29.3 per cent, arson by 50 per cent, rape cases by 19 per cent, cases
under SC/ST Act showed decline of 8.8 per cent
NATIONAL CRIME RECORDS BUREAU DATA 2009
UP tops in crimes reported against dalits
Country total of crimes against dalits : 33,594. 22.4% in UP, highest share
Country total of dalit murder cases: 624 UP accounted for 37.7%
Total rape cases of SC/ST: 1, 346, UP was second in India with 23.6%
of total cases
195 cases of arson. Bihar highest with 40 followed by Rajasthan 39 and UP 38
11,143 cases under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. UP had 22.9% of
Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2012
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